Testing the Canon 7D with Sennheiser MKE400 Shotgun Mic

Last month, I attended the first MegaTweetup at the N.E.R.D. Center in Cambridge, MA. At the event, I decided to “torture test” my new Sennheiser MKE 400 Shotgun Microphone ($200) in a loud environment. The microphone was mounted in the hot shoe of my Canon 7D, plugged into the built-in input. Here are the results:


This first video is of Joselin Mane, the organizer of the MegaTweetup.  This recording was made in a large, hard-walled room near the end of the event, with probably 30 people talking around us. I was standing about 3 feet from the subject, putting the camera and microphone about 2 feet away. The background sound level was similar to what you’d have in a shopping mall common area on a normal weekday evening.


This video is of Rebecca Corliss, whose a capella group performed at the MegaTweetup.  This recording was made in a large, hard-walled room near the end of the event, with probably 30 people talking around us. I was standing about 3 feet from the subject, putting the camera and microphone about 2 feet away. This time, the background was extremely noisy, similar to a crowed bar with no music playing. It was a situation where you had to speak very loudly to be heard over the crowd.

Overall, I think the microphone performed quite well. I’ll be keeping it, and using it with my 7D quite often.

Apple: Let Us Answer Our iPhones With Gloves On!

iPhone in Gloved HandApple,

Please allow us to use the iPhone’s Home button to answer calls.

I know it doesn’t get that cold in Cupertino, but it sure gets cold in many other parts of the world. In colder climates, the iPhone becomes almost completely unusable for its primary function — a phone — as soon as you put a pair of gloves on. If you don’t have iPhone-compatible headphones on when a call comes in, you have to fish the phone out of your pocket, take off one of your gloves, then “swipe to answer.”

I’ve missed calls doing this. I’ve seen people drop their iPhones doing this. I’ve even seen someone use their (probably runny) nose to swipe on a particularly cold day.

The most frustrating thing about this problem is that there’s an easy fix: the Home button.

The Home button is already multi-talented, but it does nothing when a call is coming in. If you enabled the option to push the home button to answer (or push and hold for one second if you were worried about accidental presses), there would be no need for me to take off my gloves. Sure, I’d still need to use my uncovered fingers for dialing, but I can plan when to dial — and plan to be in a warm place. I don’t have that luxury when it comes to incoming calls.

I love my iPhone, but this one thing is incredibly frustrating for a good chunk of the year here in the Northeast.

Winter is coming. Please don’t force me to use my nose to answer the phone.

Adam Weiss

I submitted this idea to Apple’s iPhone Feedback Page. If you agree with me, please do the same. Feel free to copy and paste from my post if you’d like. I just want this to get fixed.

Sigg Sport Top Review

Sigg1It’s been shown that bottled water isn’t good for us, that it isn’t good for the environment, and that much of it is just tap water anyway. As a result, people have been buying reusable water bottles so fast that many stores have had trouble keeping them in stock. For a long time, plastic bottles from Nalgene and others were the big sellers, but concerns over chemicals like BPA leaching into the water from these bottles have sent many people scrambling for metal bottles to replace their plastic ones.

Sigg has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of this move toward metal bottles. The Swiss company makes aluminum and steel bottles that are known for being durable and lightweight, but they have one flaw: they can be hard to drink from on the go.

The standard Sigg cap is a screw-in plug with with a molded plastic opening for attaching a carabiner or other connecting device. The small mouth of the Sigg bottles is great to drink from, but the cap takes too many turns to remove, and is always in danger of being lost (unlike Nalgene Bottles that have a tether built into the cap).

Luckily, Sigg makes one of the best water bottle caps available: the Sigg Sport Top.

Sigg2This cap is almost an inversion of the the standard bike bottle cap. Instead of pulling on the spout with your teeth to open a valve, you push on the top of the cap with your mouth, which opens a valve only while your mouth is on the cap. This eliminates spills and leaks, and makes it very easy to take a drink on the go, whether you are exercising or just walking around (I’ve found the Sport Top to be an excellent solution to drinking water on a bus or subway train without splashing myself as the vehicle lurches around).

Because the cap has an easy-to-open cover over the drinking spout, and the spout only opens when you press on it, the cap won’t leak a drop in most situations. If you are worried about it leaking, a quarter-turn of the drinking spout locks it in the closed position, so pressing on it does nothing. I find it secure enough when left “unlocked,” but the extra protection from leaks could be useful for some (I have found that the Sport Top will leak once in a while if the top is left “unlocked” and the bottle is held upside down for a while, then quickly turned right-side up).

One problem I’ve had with the Sport Top is one of strange vacuum back-pressure that can make it hard to drink every once in a while. It seems to be worst when I’ve completely filled the bottle with very cold water. When I go to take a drink, I find that I have to work to suck the water out (normally, it just flows out without any work from me). The solution to this problem is easy, though: just press down on the top with the bottle upright. You’ll hear a quick intake of air and the pressure will be equalized, making it easy to drink once again. I think this is caused by air being cooled by the water inside the airtight bottle, but it’s a small price to pay for convenience.

I drink a lot of water — usually a little less than a gallon on a normal day — and this little cap makes a huge difference, with fewer spills, quicker access, and easier splash-free drinking on the go. If you have a Sigg bottle, you should try this cap.